Big Island entertainer recovering from deadly crash

Big Island entertainer recovering from deadly crash

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

VOLCANO, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Guitarist Rupert Tripp can't do what he does best.

For the last two months the Big Island entertainer and award winning musician has spent more time in a hospital than on stage.

And music is his main income source.

In early September, Tripp was driving home through Waimea when a speeding drunk driver hit him head on.

"When the accident happened I didn't see the car coming. I didn't see him so I didn't brake. I didn't brace myself," he said.

The driver, his wife and child died. Tripp suffered multiple injuries -- a broken hip, broken ribs and feet, and a broken right hand.

"It was just painful," he said. "I went through five surgeries, everything from dull pain to sharp pain."

But the pain could not break his spirit. Besides music, Tripp is a pastor of a Big Island church. The accident strengthened his faith.

"I'm hurt. I'm angry. But I forgive the guy," he said. "He made a choice and this is the result of it. We're going to move on in life and make everything the best we can from this point on."

People have flooded Tripp's MySpace page with encouraging messages. It takes away some of the sting.

On Saturday, musician friends will stage a benefit concert at Sangha Hall in Hilo. Proceeds will help the Tripp's with their hospital bills.

Tripp also wants to send a message for the holidays.

"We got to stop this drinking and driving stuff," he said.